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  • Katie Engel

3-2-1 Goals: A Tool for Setting Goals That Won't Drain You


How is 2022 going for you so far? The beginning of a new year is a natural time to think about our professional and personal lives—how to make the most of them and how to ensure we’re focusing on the right things. But, what are the right things? I’m asking because I’m hoping you can tell me 😉 …It’s a tough question, right?


The right things are obviously different for each of us …and our goals can change over time… which makes them even more difficult to pinpoint. Plus, there are (too!) many different and important goals competing for our time and attention. So, here’s a simple strategy for determining which goals are best for you to focus on now—we call it the 3-2-1, and it can be used at home and work.


Identify 3 goals that are important to you. Consider the questions:

  • If you could have 3 wishes, what would they be?

  • If you could change any 3 things, what would they be?

  • What 3 goals are most important to you right now?

Write them down. Really.


Narrow that list down to the 2 things that are most critical to your long-term goals. Something can be important to us for many reasons – pick the 2 that are most closely tied to long-term goals. Pick the 2 things that will matter most in the long run (not just today or this month).


Finally, pick the 1 goal that will bring the least stress to your life! Goals should be challenging but not stressful.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that progress has be painful.

Pick a goal that will push you without draining you.


Hopefully this framework gets you started and illustrates that goal-setting (and reaching!) doesn’t have to be an ambiguous or painful process. Good luck and happy planning!

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